Thursday, July 27, 2017

Agreement inked on ASEAN single-window

Moving a step closer to economic and trade integration with the region, the government announced yesterday that a new customs system would be introduced toward the end of next year.

The ASEAN single-window steering committee, which has been working on simplifying customs procedures in all ASEAN member countries, reached the agreement at its meeting at Yangon’s Sedona Hotel.

The new system aims to expedite and simplify information flows in cross-border trade as ASEAN member countries move towards reducing non-tariff trade barriers, and to enhance their efforts to make ASEAN a competitive single market and regional production base.

U Tun Thein, general director of finance of the customs department, told the meeting that detailed design of the system would begin this month, and the system would be tested in the fourth quarter of 2015. It would involve the use of the Myanmar Automated Cargo Clearance system (MACCS) to facilitate the issuance of trading licences.

ASEAN leaders have committed themselves to establishing the ASEAN Economic Community by the end of this year, easing the flow of goods and services throughout Southeast Asia.

U Thant Zin, director of the preventive division of the customs department, told The Myanmar Times, “The single-window system can promote trade facilitation through improvements in the processing of customs and other related documents so that movement of goods can be enhanced.” It would speed up the processing of documents, which now takes two or three days.

U Thant Zin said the government would provide funding for the introduction of the MACCS, but declined to specify an amount, or to say how much was being contributed by the Japanese government.

Japan has proposed that Myanmar Customs should implement a comprehensive reform and modernisation project, including the introduction of a new automated cargo clearance system with the support of grant aid and technical cooperation from the government of Japan.